Both the kids were absolutely certain of one item on the Berlin must-do list: a visit to the Zoo. Famed to have the most comprehensive collection of animals in the world, Berlin’s Zoologischer Garten (quite a mouthful and Udai practised saying it many times every day, with hilarious results!) is the oldest zoo in Germany, with an interesting history. And true to form, we saw many many species I had never thought I’d see outside of my television screen!
The children were delighted and we spent an entire day there, happy to observe the animals and the humans watching the animals. Of course, a zoo cannot compare to watching animals in the wild, but from an educational perspective, I’m glad we were exposed to such an astonishing array of species. The primate house was particularly impressive, so was the section with night animals where we saw a kinkajou. Now, the kinkajou is an animal we read about in one of the children’s story books and we were all four simultaneously awestruck when we saw one in the flesh! Other highlights were the little joey in her Mumma Kangaroo’s pouch, several types of zebras, the giraffe whose neck wasn’t long enough for Aadyaa and the polar bear, for who we trekked the length and breadth of the fairly large zoo!
Disclaimer: The pictures do not do justice to the fair weather, the well kept environs of the Berlin Zoo and the generally happy state of the animals and those who were out to see them!
The focus of my fieldwork in Nathupur village is people, their stories, their experiences, their lives, their aspirations and disappointments and their physical conditions of living. It’s a fascinating checkerboard of ever-expanding scope, facets within facets and many hidden nuances I sense I need to dig into to really understand the churnings of life as a migrant and life as a landlord, those being the two overarching actors I intend to study.
Relatively simple and equally interesting, however, are the non-human inhabitants of the village. Ubiquitous, animals stare at you, lie in your way and follow you around. Villagers love them and domesticate them, ignore them and co-exist with them. I find it really amusing and here are a few clicks to share the hilarity of these creatures with you!
For big city people like me, forays into small town India are endlessly fascinating. This time, I swear I was on my way from Pune to Sangli without even really knowing how to locate the town on the map! Now I know that the Sangli-Kupwad-Miraj urban boundaries are home to about half a million people. That more familiar names like Kolhapur (chappals) and Pandharpur (reigning deity Vithoba!) are neighboring cities. That sugarcane and turmeric are the flavors of this area and its main industry. The feel of the city is semi-rural and people are simple, expressive and friendly.
Here are a few snapshots of the creatures (human and otherwise) and frames my lens encountered in Sangli!